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Opinions of Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Columnist: Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie

Why all should run away from Owusu Bempah’s dangerous effusions

Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, Leader of Glorious Word and Power Ministry Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, Leader of Glorious Word and Power Ministry

Sometimes, a person makes a mistake so horrendous, so abhorrent, and so reprehensible, that people are shocked into stillness at the perfidy of the act.

It is a fact that once in a while, a secret, vile aspect of humanity comes out of the deep wells of the human person, that is so bad or evil or has such potential, that everybody is forced to catch their breath, and ask, where did this one too come from?

It is like the incident at Kasoa, where two young people decided to slaughter a neighbor, another young person, to use him for rituals to acquire wealth. We should ask immediately and instinctually, how did we get here?

Sometimes, a person who is much older than us, would quietly and uncomfortably break wind. You are only two in the room. You can ‘hear’ that noisome smell through your nose, but you dare not talk about it. There are things, even if you think them, even if in fact you believe them to be true, that you do not talk about, because it would cause so much havoc and ill will in society. You would know, instinctually, that it is better to hold your silence and to maintain your peace.

In my opinion the decision by Bishop Owusu Bempah, a Christian Religious leader, to break these instinctual, conscious boundaries that we all place on ourselves, and to advocate that his Christian God has told him that a Muslim can never be president, is just such a sentiment. Any proper thinking person should not think of such a thought, and if he were to think it, to know enough to know that he should never put it into words.

For Owusu Bempah to say such a thing may mean that he is suffering from three maladies or a combination of all three. These maladies are;

(i) He does not know that what he said is dangerously and unacceptably wrong, or;
(ii) That he simply does not have enough historical and societal knowledge to realize that he has stepped on a very thin edge of socially acceptable conduct, and that he is taking the whole of society along with him; or
(iii) He has an unquenchable penchant to court public attention to himself; or
(iv) He is suffering from a combination of all three factors above.


I believe sincerely that Bishop Owusu Bempah is suffering from a combination of the three factors above. Otherwise, how on earth would he make the atrocious comment attributed to him, that only a person from a particular religion can become the President of this country?

That is a very politically charged statement, about a very charged religious matter. It is simple truth that many wars have been caused by religion, and politics.

It is in recognition of this factor that Ghana decided to become a Republic, where each and every individual, no matter his tribe, religion and politics, can aspire to be the best that he can be, even to be the President of Ghana.

To have said what he said, is a recognition that he does not even know what the primary law of the land says about qualification to become a President.

What does the 1992 Constitution say about qualification to become President?
Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution says about qualification;

“A person shall not be qualified for election as the President of Ghana unless;

(a) He is a citizen of Ghana by birth;
(b) He has attained the age of forty years; and
(c) He is a person who is otherwise qualified to be elected a Member of Parliament, except that the disqualifications set out in paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of clause (2) of Article 94 of this Constitution shall not be removed, in respect of any such person, by a presidential pardon or by the lapse of time as provided for in clause (5) of that article.”

For the avoidance of doubt, Article 94. (2) deals with the disqualification of a person to become a member of Parliament, and belonging to a religious denomination is not among the issues that can disqualify a person to become a member of Parliament.

Article 62 (a) states that to become a President, a person must be a citizen of Ghana. Who is a citizen of Ghana?

Article 6. (1) of the 1992 Constitution states;
“Every person who, on the coming into force of this Constitution, is a citizen of Ghana by law shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana.

“(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person born in or outside Ghana after the coming into force of this Constitution, shall become a citizen of Ghana at the date of his birth if either of his parents or grandparents is or was a citizen of Ghana.

“(3) A child of not more than seven years of age found in Ghana whose parents are not known shall be presumed to be a citizen of Ghana by birth.

“(4) A child of not more than sixteen years of age neither of whose parents is a citizen of Ghana who is adopted by a citizen of Ghana shall, by virtue of the adoption, be a citizen of Ghana.”
Once again, religion is not mentioned here as a basis for becoming an elected political leader at any level, let alone the President.

It is not that religion is not mentioned in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution. It is mentioned indeed.

Article 12. (2) states;
“Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, RELIGION, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this Chapter but subject to the respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest.”

So, according to Article 12. (2), we are all Ghanaians and entitled to our rights, no matter our ‘race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, RELIGION, creed or gender’.

Indeed Article 17. (1) and (2) states;
“All persons shall be equal before the law” and “A person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, RELIGION, creed or social or economic status.”

The Oxford Learners Dictionary defines ‘discriminate’ as ‘the practice of treating someone or a particular group in society less fairly than others.’

According to the 2010 Ghana government census (the most recent available), approximately 71 percent of the population is Christian, 18 percent Muslim, 5 percent adheres to indigenous or animistic religious beliefs, and 6 percent belongs to other religious groups or has no religious beliefs.

So, what it means is that when someone goes about saying that his God is telling him that Muslims cannot be President in Ghana, then he is saying that a whopping 18% of the population can never aspire to be President, whilst 71% can. The stuff of nightmares. Dangerous talk indeed.

Secondly, history is replete with news of conflict generated by religious differences, from all across the world, and Africa has had its fair share of such conflicts. So much so, that there has been international conferences held on the phenomenon.

Dr. Ludovic Lado, a Southern Voices Scholar with the Africa Program and Director of the Institute of Human Rights and Dignity at the Center of Research and Action for Peace in Cote d’Ivoire, speaking at a seminar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, located in Washington, D.C., in 2014, stated, “The key impact on interreligious relations is that extremism from one religious group tends to breed extremism from other religious groups.”

We see this happening in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and with al-Shaba’ab in Kenya and Somalia, especially when looking at the crackdowns on Somalis in Kenya. The nature of these conflicts can run along sectarian divides, leaving some groups repressed.”

And all these conflicts are as a result of extremist views, like those of Prophet Owusu Bempah.

The third observation is that Owusu Bempah is propelled by delusions of grandeur. He must be heard, and he must be heard making extreme prophesies, like Donald Trump is winning the 2020 elections in the United States, when all the evidence was to the contrary, or which and which politician will die in the coming year.

It is clear that Mr. Owusu Bempah is suffering from a combination of all his ills. My worry, in this write-up, is that he is most likely, in future, to make one outrageous statement too many.

I recall when he predicted that a certain revered religious cleric was about to die, and also predicted that a famous political leader was also to meet the same fate. These led to attacks on his church.

With this specific instance, I believe it would be beneficial, if all political and religious leaders would rise up in collective condemnation of the latest proclamation, before it leads to repercussions.

And while we wait for the ‘moral society’ in our country to speak, it would be beneficial if Bishop Owusu Bempah would read the two bible quotations below and reflect on them.
Nehemiah 9:6 states of God;

“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.”

And he should also read Colossians 1:16 — The New International Version (NIV) “16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”

In conclusion, I say to Owusu Bempah, that we are all God’s children, deserving of his mercies and blessings.